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The Creative Act and the Tao Te Ching
I read two books while traveling last week—one new and one a classic. Both are highly recommended.
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I read two books while traveling last week. One was new and in the form of an audiobook, and one was a 4th Century BC classic in the form of a paperback. Both works felt simultaneously ancient and contemporary. It's like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in years, but it feels like you just spoke to them yesterday.
The classic book was The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu. I’d read this book in high school (over 20 years ago), not long after discovering Alan Watt’s The Way of Zen. Though it has 81 chapters, it’s a short read but dense with meaning. I found myself underlining text and writing in the margins a great deal.
I discovered the new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, by Rick Rubin, two months ago when he was a guest on the Daily Stoic Podcast. I quickly purchased the unabridged audiobook, read by the author, and added it to my queue. This book was an excellent travel companion. I listened to it on my flights and over several outdoor running sessions. The format of this book is quite similar to the Tao Te Ching. Each of the 78 “areas of thought” holds an encapsulated lesson that stands on its own but, when read from cover to cover, expresses a deeper perspective on creativity that has a common thread across the book. This book is both profoundly philosophical and immediately actionable. On more than one occasion, I paused my run and dictated ideas on the Voice Memos app on my phone inspired by the insights from the book. Last week’s post emerged from one of those voice memos.
I’d recommend both books independently, but if you plan to read The Creative Act, I’d recommend reading the Tao Te Ching first. It sets a tone and provides the context to the writing style and format that The Creative Act captures so well. As someone who loves to tinker, build and create The Creative Act is a love letter to that strange dance with the universe we call creativity.
Notable Links this Week
I’m pitching a panel for SXSW 2024. We have some amazing panelists (Henry Segerman, Looking Glass Universe, and Workshop Nation). Public voting started this week and ends on August 20. I’d love your vote. https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/135520
Go 1.21 was released this week with many nice improvements that have gotten much attention. Two improvements that got less attention were to
PrivateKey.Equalnow execute in constant time.
A fun little exploration of the type declaration used by languages such as Go, Rust, TypeScript, and Python (with type hints). Ben expressed thoughts I’ve held in much more precise thinking and better reasoning than I’ve put forth on the subject.